Panel issues catheter guidelines for physicians in long-term care facilities, hospitals

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A panel of infection control experts has issued a new set of guidelines governing catheter-associated urinary tract infections. The guidelines are geared toward direct-care physicians who practice in both hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Restricting urinary catheterization to patients who have clear indications and removing the catheter as soon as it is no longer needed is the most effective way to lower incidents of urinary tract infection, according to the Expert Panel of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Facilities should develop a list of acceptable indications and ensure that at least 90% of catheters are placed accordingly. Furthermore, 95% of catheters should be placed as a result of a physician's order, according to the panel's recommendations.

Examples of acceptable uses include use during prolonged surgical procedures with general or spinal anesthesia, or for urinary incontinence for comfort in a terminally ill patient if less invasive measures fail. The guidelines will be published in the March 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.